I TOLD YOU SO"
By Peter Thompson
What has happened already: The people and animals in this story are: AMADEUS, a fine black cat with an honourable position hi the household of the DUKE and DUCHESS OF PHUFOOTLE.
STANISLAUS, a white poodle brought from Paris by the Duchess. At tirst Amadeus tries to have him sent *may, but after the fiasco of a mass protest against poodles, organised by all the vete of Prufootle, the two animals are friends.
Among other friends of Amadeu. are GINGER, a farm cat, W1LLIBALD mowiecatcher to a local inn, and MRS GIZZARD, who sells toffee apples by the castle gate. Her thin daughter, DELPHINIUM, dislikes Amadeus and Amadeus dislikes her TITUS OWL, who loves cooking and eermons, gives Amadeus shelter when he Is lost In the Great Forest.
This is the !warn) part of thc story.
cc W sh ()Ck ill g thing!'' Stanislans asked, for
ELL, and what is this Amadeus found it difficult to continue. For a little while there was silence except for the soft creak of their feet going through the erisp snow, then Amadeus said diffidently, " Yon remember, Stanislaus, that night we all sang, all we cats of Prufootle, and we awoke the Duchess and there was terrible trouble—and it was all made well because you explained that we were
only giving you a welcome? "" Yes," said Stanislaus; " yes, I remember all those things. It was an excellent welcome."
" Oh, bother him," thought 'Amadeus, screwing up his eyes and looking into the sun, " why does he want to efly a thing like that? It makes everything so much harder." He epoke in a small, careful voice: " Stanislams, I fear . . . I fear that it was not tuch an excellent welcome."
" How so?"
" Well, you see . . . it was like thiser—avell, to put it quite plain and blunt and—er—straight, that is without mincing words or—or—beating about the bush, the welcome . . . the welcome —how can I explain it—you see the welcome . . ."
" Yes? "
" Oh. don't you see—the welcome wasn't."
"I beg your pardon."
"It wasn't. The welcome wasn't. There wasn't any welcome. We didn't sing you a welcome. We gang a. rebuff. We didn't want you. We sang because we wanted you to go away. It was a protest meeting. It was an anti-poodle demonstration. It was hateful of us. But that's what it really was."
HE had spoken very quickly as if afraid of the words he was saying, and hoping that if he got past them with sufficient speed they would not. be remembered.
" You see, it was not a welcome," he added rather unnecessarily. But he had to say something, for Stanislaus was silent, and you could not see how he felt.. He just looked straight ahead.
Presently he said, " Oh." Then there was a long silence, The two animals walked quickly. From time to time Amadeus glanced at Stanislaus and opened his mouth to my something. But be never did., They were some way out. of the forest now. Once Stanielaus sighed and Amadeus thought he heard him say almost under his breath: " So that was it," Amadeus.coulci not endure the silence. He had to say something, but what more could he say? At last he said, " I'm very sorry," but it sounded feeble. " We didn't know you then," he said. " We like you very much now." He began to wish he had not spoken, it all sounded unnecessary and somehow extremely
" I was a wicked cat not to have told you all this before. But it was very difficult telling you; yet I had to because you have been 80 much my friend. It was very cowardly of me not to have told you before."
But Stanislaus would say nothing. Amadeus did not speak again until they reached the gates that led into the castle grounds. Here he said: "Stanislaus, will you be hugely angry with me for very long? "
" But I am not angry with you." said Stanislaus. " I am angry with myself for being such a dunderhead and such a conceited dunderhead. It just shows how soft living can dull one's senses." "It does indeed. But really. you know, you are angry with me a little bit, aren't you?" " Oh, yes, quite a lot. However, If you play me some music this evening then I shall think of other things and I shall forget my anger."
THE Duchess was sulking. She pretended not to notice either Amadeus or Stanislaus. They had both disobeyed her wishes. When they passed her she looked the other way. She was still further annoyed, however, by the boisterous greeting the Duke gave the two animals. He did not look the other way. He. shook each animal by its paw and patted them on the back, and said, " Well, well, well. Horne again, and all safe." To his wife he said, " Isn't It splendid, my dear, they're back again and not at all hurt." But she had walked on, and when he shouted after her, " Dibs, darling. aren't you coming to kiss their poor coldsie little noses?" she shrugged her shoulders angrily and walked on more quickly.
She hated being called Dibs; it reminded her how old she was, for it was a nickname her husband had given her on her honeymoon because—but that doesn't matter here. As for kissing their noses: she'd have them sent to bed with syrup of figs, a hot water bottle, and a long telling-off if elm thought it would do any sort of good.
At supper she was in a slightly better humour. She had remembered that she could say, " I told you an." She said, " I told you so " in many different ways all through the meal. "I said it was madness. . . . A cold day like that. . . . And fancy going to the Great Forest.... I've often said that it was no place for a well brought up animal. . . . I can't think why you bothered to rescue him, Stanislaus. . . . I said you'd get the most awful cold. . . . I don't want you to sneeze all over my castle . . . you will have to stop in bed to-morrow—both of you—just as I predicted. . . . If only you would listen to advice. . . . Experience is a hard school, but fools will learn no other . . . a walk at this time of the year: it's simply asking for trouble, and you got it, I must say, as I knew you would," and so on, and so on, and so on, until the Duke, with his mouth full of chicken, said, "Shut up."
'The Duchess immediately left. the table. At the door she paused and said, " You have disgraced your house and name." Her husband, still with his mouth full, said, " Good night." And she went.
AFTER that the animals were happier, and they told the Duke of all their adventure, and of the kindness of Titus Owl, and of the terrifyingness of the Great Forest. The Duke was a good listener. He said little except to ask the appropriate questions, such as, "Did you really?" and, "How intelligent of you, and what happened then?"
When the meal was finished the Duke smacked his lips and said, "Excellent. Fit for a Duke." He arose from the table and said, "Would you like to do something amusing before you go to bed?" Of course the animals said they would. Amadeus remembered that he was to play some music for Stanislaus, but Stanislaus said it did not matter.
So the Duke led the way out of the dining-room and up the grand staircase. He was getting rather fat, and his legs